Bangladesh: Cyclone Bulbul - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRBD023

A. Situation Analysis

Description of the Disaster

As per the special weather bulletin issued by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) on 9 November 2019, Tropical Cyclone “Bulbul” developed over the northwest Bay of Bengal (BoB) and adjoining area. The cyclone, termed “very severe,” gradually intensified and smashed into the coast India’s West Bengal around midnight, local time, before crossing over the border to Bangladesh through the Sundarbans in Khulna around 5am on Sunday, 10 November. Packing winds of up to 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 130kph (80mph), Cyclone Bulbul weakened when it started crossing Bangladesh's southwestern coastal region same afternoon, dumping incessant rain across the country. Under its peripheral influence, gusty/squally wind and rain affected the coastal districts of Bangladesh.

In anticipation of Cyclone Bulbul, the BMD assigned great danger signal No 10 for the maritime ports of Mongla, Payra along with nine coastal districts of Bhola, Borguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalkathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars. Meanwhile, maritime port of Chattogram along with coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhlai, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars were put under the great danger signal No 9. However, Cox’s Bazar was put under cautionary signal No 4. Based on the ‘great danger signal’ put in place, accordingly the local administration in the coastal districts with the help of Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) volunteers, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) volunteers, Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD), Police, Armed Forces and other organisation, evacuated around 2.1 million people to some 5,787 cyclone centres on 9 November.

The districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Chattogram, Noakhlai, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalokathi, Begerhat and their offshore islands and chars experienced high wind speed with heavy to very heavy rainfall during the passage of Cyclone Bulbul. Under the influence of Cyclone Bulbul and the full moon phase, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts and their offshore islands were inundated by storm surge above the normal astronomical tide. Water transport services were suspended on Friday, 8 November in the evening and air flights have been suspended on 9 November evening and both were resumed on 11 November.

The GoB through its Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) monitored the situation closely and started coordination meetings with all relevant government and non-government stakeholders from 8 November. On 8 November afternoon, a Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) implementation board meeting took place at MoDMR. BDRCS attended these coordination meetings and IFRC representative also attended the CPP implementation board meeting as one of the technical members.